food

Easy Faux Beef Tips Recipe

It’s been a while since I did a recipe post. To be truthful with you all, my winter cuisine tends to be boring and predictable. I order a lot more food (mostly Indian, Ethiopian and Thai dishes) and, when I do prepare my food at home, it’s a simple situation (soups, sandwiches, and casseroles).

But today, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes. I cook it at least once every couple of weeks during the cold months, but I almost never use precise measurements. That is, until today! I made this and took my time writing down the amounts of everything that I included. At the end, this is what the finished dish looks like:

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My easy faux beef (beef-less) tips

My father tried this and he couldn’t believe that it is vegan! Since I make enough of this to last a few days (or to share), my portions are generally large, But don’t worry: this recipe is for 4 people (cut in half for a smaller amount). Enjoy!

Easy Beef(less) Tips (serves 2)

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1.5 tbsp oil (you can use butter substitute, olive oil or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 bag Gardein Beefless Tips
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 1 large potato, cubed into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp Sicilian bread dipping mix (more info after the instructions)

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add onions and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally (this takes anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes). Make sure to stir to prevent the onions from sticking to the pot.

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Gardein’s Beefless Tips are great for this recipe

Next, add broth, water, carrots and potatoes to the pot. Stir until well combined. Reduce heat to low-to-medium heat. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Add beefless tips and all seasonings. Stir well until seasoning is well distributed. Cover and allow to cook until all vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally (totaling 15 to 20 minutes). Serve hot.

I usually enjoy this with a glass of red wine (preferably a Malbec, my favorite).

As far as the bread dipping seasoning, I use one that I got from a discount store (I can’t remember which – probably the Dollar Tree – but I can’t guarantee that it is readily available everywhere). The closest thing I found is an organic Sicilian Bread Dipping Mix on Amazon. You can easily whip up your own version by using a standard Italian seasoning and adding a little salt and a few red pepper flakes.

Do you have any beefless tip recipes to share? Please share them in the comments below!

style

Review: Leezeshaw Dress

I was hesitant to do this review, because I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t recommending a poorly made product. Leezeshaw is one of the many Chinese companies that sell clothing on Amazon, and if you have ordered from one of these companies before, you know the problems that can occur.

For starters, most Chinese vendors use Chinese fit models, which means that the clothing is fitted to the bodies of women that are overwhelmingly rectangular-shaped (not much difference between the bust, waist and hip measurements). This is okay if you are also rectangular-shaped, but for women with hourglass, apple, or cone shapes, this means that the garment will not fit properly.

There’s also the issue of size conversion. You have to carefully read the item descriptions to see how to convert from Chinese to US sizes. One misstep, and you’ll have a garment that doesn’t fit and costs a fortune to send back. I’ve done this and ended up just giving the item to charity: shipping it back to the vendor wasn’t worth the cost or hassle.

So it’s with careful consideration that I’m bringing you this post. I purchase this Leezeshaw dress last winter, right before New Years Day. I ordered it in a size large (even though, in US sizes, I bounce between sizes 6 and 8). The dress has a vintage shape that appealed to me. I am pleased to say that this dress was a home run: 

I’ve worn it to work multiple times, and it is still in fabulous condition. I wash it in a lingerie bag, just to prevent some of the damage that can come from washer machine agitation. Here’s how the dress looks while wearing it:

Since this shade of white is more like a winter white, I’ve worn it all year round. The dress has long sleeves, so it’s suitable for cool days but it’s unlined, so it can also be worn on warm days, too (it’s perfect for offices that believe that subarctic air conditioning temps are appropriate during the summer). During the winter months, I often layer this dress with leggings and a silk slip underneath for warmth. I also wear knee-high boots that offer even more warmth.

This dress is elegant and classy, and it’s also affordable at $25.99. I am considering adding some more Leezeshaw pieces to my wardrobe soon!

beauty

Winterproof Your Skin

Friends, if you start on a routine TODAY, you will be buttery-soft by Christmas – I promise!

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If you start taking care of your skin, you’ll be softer than these munchkins (courtesy of Daily Monitor)

With the air steadily getting colder and drier, I’ve been getting back into my winter skin routine, which involves shielding myself from the elements, heavier moisture and more intense exfoliation. It’s funny – the skin on my face is combination/oily, so I tend to stick with water-based, oil free facial moisturizers. But the skin below my chin is so dry: I could rub down in vegetable oil and it would be just fine LOL!

This time of year, I’m focused on exfoliation and hydration because these are a surefire way to get soft skin. The trick to exfoliation is to *carefully* double up, using both mechanical (body scrubs, body brushes and exfoliating mitts) and chemical (acids that remove dull, dry skin) products. I use a body scrub once a day, and a mild chemical exfoliant twice a day. I like both Shea Moisture’s body scrubs as well as St. Ives. I find that Shea Moisture’s products have finer, grainier scrubs that really buff away dull skin, but St. Ives is less expensive and not as grainy.


In place of the scrubs, I occasionally use my Korean bath mitts (I’ve written about them previously). But if I use the mitts, I  avoid using the scrubs for at least 3 days afterward. The mitts do a great job of getting rid of dry skin.

As far as chemical exfoliants go, I rely heavily on AmLactin. The lotion is gentle enough for daily use but extremely effective. I use it twice a day on all of the skin below my chin, and it has every inch of me feeling soft and supple. This one is a two-for-one: it exfoliates and moisturizes simultaneously.

I pay careful attention to my skin when using exfoliants. If I feel a bit sensitive (that sometimes occurs with the skin on my chest and upper arms), I’ll either skip my scrub or my AmLactin. I also apply an additional layer of AmLactin to my feet right before bed, because the skin on my feet isn’t as sensitive as the rest of my body. I recommend that you pay careful attention to how your skin reacts and adjust accordingly.

Those are the products I use for soft skin all winter long! Do you have any product recommendations? Please let me know in the comments below!

luxury · style

Affordable Cashmere? Yes Please!

Happy Monday, friends! It’s feeling more and more like winter with each passing day. As much as I hate to let summer go, I realized that I needed to put away my lightweight blouses and bring out my cozy sweaters and scarves. I must admit, I was excited to bring out my cashmere sweaters: I love the colors (deep raspberry and lime green) and feel of my sweaters. Not to mention, using Dryel has kept them looking incredible.

 (This is great for keeping your cashmere in tiptop shape)

I’ve had these sweaters since last year, when I decided it was time to invest in some nicer wardrobe pieces. I found a great place for getting cashmere for less than $50 a sweater (feel free to double check the prices: I was hard pressed to find cashmere sweaters in the $70 range). I purchased my sweaters from Stein Mart, which had lots of different colors and cuts, starting at less than $40 per sweater. If you have an eBates account, you can even get cashback on your purchase, bringing your cost down even more.

(Boatneck and v-neck are just two of the necklines offered in Stein Mart’s cashmere sweaters)

This season has different shades from last year, but there is still a good variety to choose from. If I wasn’t saving my coins, I’d definitely buy a couple more sweaters: the prices are spectacular! You can check out the sweaters here. If you know any other places that have affordable cashmere, let me know in the comments below!

Uncategorized

Let It Snow!

Happy Saturday, snow angels!

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A Snowy Evening (cue Robert Frost)

I can’t remember the last time that snow fell this early in central Virginia, but I must admit, I’m loving it. If we keep getting this authentic winter weather, maybe we’ll have a white Christmas (a true rarity in this area)!

I had planned on meeting up with a friend and going out to dinner today, but as soon as the snow began falling yesterday, I decided to stay in and relax instead.

Sometimes, nature nudges us to slow down and take it easy. Snow is a perfect excuse for staying inside.

Did it snow where you are? Let me know in the comments below!

music

Currently Listening To . . .

Happy Sunday, darlings! Every year, I wait until December to break out one of my all-time favorite songs. It seems just silly to listen to winter-themed songs at any other time of year!

I’m a fan of anything that makes me think of cuddling under a huge blanket with a cup of hot chocolate. And Sarah Vaughan’s version of “My Favorite Things” just symbolizes everything cozy about wintertime.

Her perfect vocals, the pared down instruments, and the timeless lyrics come together exquisitely. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

style

My Favorite Boohoo Dress

I mentioned my Boohoo hauls in two previous posts (this one and this one). I’ll be doing an update on how those pieces are holding up in a few weeks. However, this post is all about my favorite piece from one of those hauls.

I was surprised that this one was my favorite: after all, I got a LOT of dresses, and each one was adorable. I also tend to favor bright colors that really make my complexion POP: a neutral dress isn’t normally my first choice.

So, this was an unlikely winner, but just look at it:

 

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The Eloise Dress by Boohoo has stolen my heart! Now, I know you’re thinking: it’s navy, and it’s cute, but WHY is it your favorite?

Uhm, are you all seeing the CURVES this dress creates?!?! Putting this dress on is like slipping into an instantly hourglass-y body. It looks chic, classy and still a bit sexy. I wore it with a tan shawl and I looked like I belonged in a different tax bracket!

Also, there are gathers in the dress’s waist, which helps disguise any bloat or poochy tummy issues. The dress hits right at the knee, and the slightly flared sleeves are a godsend for those of us that aren’t enslaved to tricep-toning exercies.

Here’s a link to the dress for your convenience: Eloise Dress. Right now, the dress is only $10, but it’s selling out fast. I bought another one in black, and I barely even wear solid black dresses. That’s JUST how much I love this design.

Go ahead and get your Eloise dress. You deserve it.